The blind man Bartimaeus in Sunday’s Gospel from Mark 10:46-52 needs to be noticed by Jesus and so he does whatever he needs to do to get Jesus’ attention. There is something, however, that precedes his need to be noticed by Jesus and that something is faith. When Bartimaeus hears that Jesus is passing by where he is sitting begging at the side of the road, faith and hope well up from his heart. He realizes that he must make himself noticed among the sizable crowd waiting for Jesus to leave Jericho. 

What made him think he could get Jesus’ attention? It was faith and hope that brought him to believe that Jesus would heal him, and it is that determination which can only come from faith that enables him to make himself known to Jesus. His belief that Jesus could heal him brought him to the prophetic knowledge that Jesus was the promised Messiah. The words he shouts out in hope of being noticed reveal this truth and these words of truth would get Jesus’ attention. “On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, ‘Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.’ ” Nothing and no one was going to stop him from being heard.

The crowd, which included Jesus’ disciples, told him to be silent. He recognized Jesus, and even without the ability to physically see, he could see more than all the religious officials. There would be no silencing him, after all this was his chance to forever be changed. He has already received illumination through prophetic revelation, and he has been given insight to who Jesus is as Son of David, which is a messianic title. Jesus did not silence him, he told his disciples to call him over and Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” It is not enough just getting the Lord’s attention; we have to believe and have faith in Jesus Christ. In the blind man’s reply, he witnesses to the power of faith. “The blind man replied to him, ‘Master, I want to see.’ ” He did not doubt that Jesus could give him sight and it was that faith in Jesus that brought about his healing.

Bartimaeus’ life was forever changed to the point that not only could he see but now he was going to follow Jesus along the way as a disciple witnessing to the healing power of God. Bartimaeus would have been familiar with Sunday’s psalm: “The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with Joy.” (Psalm 126:1-6) The psalm is a fulfillment of Jeremiah’s promise to the people of Israel that they would be restored back to the promised land. This is the reason for their joy. Like the people of Israel, Bartimaeus has received restoration of his sight, which is a foreshadowing of the restoration we would all receive through the waters of new life. In the waters of baptism, we are illuminated with the light of Christ and so Bartimaeus was healed of his physical blindness and was illuminated with spiritual insight, which compelled him to follow Jesus, for he was filled with joy.

Jesus, who is our great high priest, enables us to be healed of our physical and spiritual blindness. “Every high priest is taken from among men and made their representative before God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.” (Hebrews 5:1-6) Jesus, who healed the blind man, makes it possible for us all to be healed because he is our great high priest: “You are a priest in the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 5:6) Jesus is the one who offers the sacrifice as high priest and he is the sacrifice, which is offered on the cross, the sacrifice which replaces all other sacrifices.

Jeremiah tells us God has heard our cry and that our wailing and groaning should be turned into shouts of joy. “Thus,” says the Lord, “Shout with joy.” (Jeremiah 31:7-9) Are we able to recognize Jesus as he walks by and shout, “Joy, Jesus, Son of David!” Do we recognize that we need healing? Do we have the faith and hope to ask the Lord to heal us of our afflictions? Jesus is waiting for us to make ourselves known by shouting, “Jesus, Son of David, illumine my heart so that I may see you!”